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Episode 63: Behold…A Renewable Landfill for the Ages

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In our latest episode of NothingWasted!we chat with Emily Dyson, director of science research and development, BioHiTech Global.  BioHiTech Global is working to change the future of the waste management industry through technology-driven services that cost-effectively reduce the environmental impact of waste disposal. 

Liz Bothwell spoke to Dyson about the process of converting waste into an EPA-recognized clean alternative fuel, what we can learn about waste from Europeans, being a good community neighbor, what a renewable landfill really means and more.

Here’s a sneak peek into the energetic discussion:

Waste360: Can you tell us about the West Virginia facility?

Dyson: It’s a 56,000 square-foot building that looks like a warehouse. You would never know that, at any given time, there is upwards of 4,000 tons of municipal solid waste inside, as well as 100-200 more tons of commercial and industrial waste. It’s the first renewable landfill inside a building. We are a manufacturing operation, not just a waste facility—and we produce a valuable fuel community. So that inbound waste is feedstock for us. It gets separated and processed, and the end product is a fuel that burns cleaner than coal. 

Waste360: Do you have markets for the fuel?

Dyson: Yes, they are taking about all the fuel we are making at this point. And we have some new opportunities we’re just getting started with. People are reaching out to us for samples of the solid renewable fuels to see what they can do with it. 

Waste360: How has COVID-19 impacted your work and facility?

Dyson: It has greatly increased our inbound waste, since the volume of residential trash has been on the rise with people stuck in their houses. 

Waste360: Do you think the work that you are doing is affecting the way people view waste? 

Dyson: BioHiTech shares the vision that I had all along of trying to find ways to turn waste into a commodity; ways to change the mindset of the use of landfills; and to add another tool to the global toolbox of waste management.  

The company is taking strong steps in changing the way people view waste. That’s not to say there’s not a long road ahead. As long as we’re a disposable society, we’re going to have to come up with new technologies. As a country we’re going to have to find ways to re-create from all these materials we continually want to throw away. But BioHiTech is putting a really strong footprint on it.

Waste360: What’s next for BioHiTech?

Dyson: We’ve got a facility in the permitting process in New York and several irons in the fire with municipalities. I’d like to have five to eight facilities like the one in West Virginia in the works over the next 10 years. 

Read transcript here.


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